Reduce Comminution Energy and Improve Energy Relevant Mineral Yield Using Carbon-negative Oxalatization Reactions

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Rolla, Missouri
Project Term:
01/24/2023 - 01/23/2026

Technology Description:

Missouri University of Science and Technology aims to establish a new way to extract energy-relevant minerals, such as nickel and cobalt, from low-concentration, CO2-reactive mafic/ultramafic mine wastes (tailings, gangue, overburden rock, etc.) or geologic formations. The innovation is enabled by a novel pretreatment of mafic mine wastes using a CO2- or biomass-derived organic acid, which can dissolve the silicates efficiently. The progressive dissolution will be followed by the precipitation of mineralization products, which will turn bulky silicate rocks into micron-sized crystal particles and amorphous silica. This method could significantly reduce comminution energy and improve energy-relevant metal elements yield while permanently storing carbon via mineralization in forms of carbonates and/or oxalate hydrates.

Potential Impact:

The MINER program aims to use the reactive potential of CO2-reactive ore materials to decrease mineral processing energy and increase the yield of energy-relevant minerals via novel negative emission technologies.


MINER metrics meet the U.S. need for net-zero, commercial-ready technologies that provide energy-relevant minerals for economic and national security.


In addition to demonstrating carbon negativity, the proposed technologies will quantify and reduce our impact on environmental and human health by addressing ecotoxicity, acidification of air, smog, water pollution, and more.


MINER metrics specify increasing the yield of energy-relevant minerals by reducing unrecovered energy-relevant minerals in tailings in by 50% compared with state of the art.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Douglas Wicks
Project Contact:
Dr. Hongyan Ma
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:


Los Alamos National Laboratory

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